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Who star link to paedophile probe

Townshend: "I think I may have been sexually abused as a child and I was doing research into it"

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RICHMOND, England -- Rock legend Pete Townshend has issued a public statement denying being a paedophile after his name was linked with a police Internet porn inquiry.

But The Who guitarist and song-writer did admit studying child pornography for research into a campaign against it. He told reporters on Saturday that he told police what he was doing.

Standing on the doorstep of his mansion in Richmond, in south-west London, the Press Association reported the 57-year-old star as saying: "I am not a paedophile. I think paedophilia is appalling."

Townshend, who is married with children, continued: "To fight against paedophilia, you have to know what's out there.

"I have been involved in a campaign against paedophilia on the Internet but it fizzled out.

"I think I may have been sexually abused as a child and I was doing research into it. I've been writing my life story and the research is for a book.

"I've been in touch with Scotland Yard to tell them what I was doing. I have contacted them but no police officers have contacted me.

"I am waiting for the police to talk to me but they haven't been round. I have done a lot of work on paedophilia and my Web site has highlighted it.

"I have looked into the abuse that children have suffered in Chechnya and Kosovo and the portrayal of these children on the Internet and it appals me.

"I was worried this might happen and I think this could be the most damaging thing to my career."

The Press Association reporter told CNN that Townshend appeared "earnest and serious" during the interview.

The reporter said that following the statement he gave on his doorstep, Townshend later issued a second, fuller written statement to the press. (Statement)

The star said he was interested in adult porn, adding: "I've always been into pornography and I have used it all my life.

"I'm going to talk to my lawyers to see what happens next."

Asked if he had a message for his fans, or if he planned to make a statement, he said: "I am not a paedophile. I want to clear my name."

Leaving his home, he said: "I'm going to see my son. I've not been charged with anything. I've always been warned about campaigning about this."

He added: "I'm hoping that this will go away. I've been warned not to say anything on this."

Reporters questioned Townshend following a report in two British tabloid newspapers, The Daily Mail and The Sun, that details of an unnamed internationally-famous musician had been passed to detectives dealing with an American pay-per-view porn ring.

The Daily Mail said Scotland Yard officers were now investigating and deciding whether to make an arrest.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman refused to discuss details of the inquiry.

Townshend, left, on stage with Roger Daltrey
Townshend, left, on stage with Roger Daltrey

She told CNN. "We can't confirm that we are investigating a British rock star. We don't discuss individuals," said a spokesman.

British police are conducting their largest-ever investigation, code-named Operation Ore, into online paedophilia and child pornography.

About 1,300 people, including a judge, magistrates, dentists, hospital consultants and a deputy headmaster, have so far been arrested.

In 1999 British pop star Gary Glitter was jailed for four months after indecent pictures of children were found on his laptop computer.

Earlier this week the former glam rock star, real name Paul Gadd, was arrested in Cambodia and deported from the country.

In another case, singer, record producer and broadcaster Jonathan King was jailed for seven years in 2001 for sex attacks on five boys.

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